front groups

Exclusive: Enbridge Is Behind This Front Group Pushing the Company’s Line 3 Oil Pipeline Project

Read time: 6 mins
Enbridge building

Minnesotans for Line 3, a group established last year to advocate for an Enbridge oil pipeline project, presents itself as a grassroots organization consisting of “thousands of members.”

But a DeSmog investigation has found that behind the scenes, the Calgary-based energy giant is pulling the strings. Enbridge has provided the group with funding, public relations, and a variety of advocacy tactics.

The Latest Propaganda Push From Pro-Pipeline Front Group GAIN

Read time: 4 mins
Natural gas pipeline warning at a Pennsylvania pipeline construction site

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup.

Although pipelines have been facing a number of setbacks recently, pro-pipeline groups aren’t giving up. One of those is Grow America’s Infrastructure Now (GAIN), which came to our attention because it’s recently begun sponsoring the Washington Examiner’s daily energy newsletter.

GAIN’s website simply describes the group as supporting strengthening infrastructure development and only mentions pipelines as one aspect of its focus, which also includes bridges, roads, etc. But the group’s blogTwitter, and coverage in the media are pretty exclusively dedicated to pro-pipeline messaging. Hmmm, almost like it isn’t an all-around infrastructure group, and perhaps may have some ulterior motive …

Anadarko and Other Frackers Have Pumped $75 Million into PR and Front Group Attacks On Local Control In Colorado

Read time: 4 mins

This is a guest post by Jesse Coleman crossposted from Greenpeace US

Ever wonder what it’s like to be a pawn in the oil and gas industry’s political ambitions? This pencil, hired by oil and gas front group Protect Colorado, summed it up:

“It feels like shit to fucking wear this thing, but it’s 25 bucks an hour.”

Front Groups Attacking #WebofDenial Senate Action Took Over $92M in Dark, Dirty Money

Read time: 4 mins

This is a guest post by Cindy Baxter, crossposted from Climate Investigations Center.

As Democrat Senators spent their second day this week outlining the cash funneled to front groups in the fossil fuel-funded climate Web of Denial, predictably, some of the spiders started crawling out of that web.

Senators Launch Resolution, Speech Blitz Calling Out #WebOfDenial Blocking Climate Action

Read time: 13 mins

On Monday and Tuesday this week, at least 19 U.S. Senators who understand the need to clear the PR pollution that continues to block overdue climate policy action will speak out on the Senate floor in support of the Senate Web of Denial Resolution calling out the destructive forces of fossil fuel industry-funded climate denial.

Championed by Senators Whitehouse, Markey, Schatz, Boxer, Merkley, Warren, Sanders, and Franken, the resolution condemns what they are calling the #WebOfDenial — “interconnected groups – funded by the Koch brothers, major fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil and Peabody Coal, identity-scrubbing groups like Donors Trust and Donors Capital, and their allies – developed and executed a massive campaign to deceive the public about climate change to halt climate action and protect their bottom lines.”

Joined in the House of Representatives by Congressman Ted Lieu (D- CA), these champions for climate action and accountability in the Senate are calling out the use of think tanks and denier-for-hire front groups to create doubt about climate science. Read the resolution [PDF].

American Petroleum Institute Touts Oil Exports to Fend Off Iran, Russia Despite API Members Tied to Both Countries

Read time: 6 mins

The American Petroleum Institute (API) has launched a new advertising campaign in its ongoing push to oust the U.S. oil exports ban in place since 1975.

One of the most recent ads, titled “Crude Oil Exports and National Security” on YouTube, starts off with ominous music and asks, “Who loves the ban on U.S. crude oil exports?” The answer, says API, is “Iran and Russia, not exactly our best friends.”

Not mentioned: both countries currently maintain business ties with API's dues-paying members.

A Brief Guide to Southeastern Anti-Solar Front Groups

Read time: 3 mins

This is a guest post by Dan Zegart of Climate Investigations Center

No one who reads this space regularly would be surprised to hear that the big utility companies employ front groups to further their political agendas in the states in which they operate.

After all, we’ve reported here on a scientist who was little more than a pseudo-scientific front for a big power company — Willie Soon, whom Southern Company, which is heavily-dependent on carbon dioxide-rich coal for its power plants, clandestinely funded to do research pointing away from human-produced CO2 as a cause of global warming.

Now an investigation by two Environment & Energy (E&E) reporters has traced a network of industry fronts and astroturf grassroots organizations spreading across the southeastern United States, all united in attacking state laws or regulatory or other efforts to make rooftop solar panels economical to use by allowing customers to sell any surplus electricity back to the grid. 

Brother of Hillary Clinton's Top Campaign Aide Lobbied for Fracked Gas Export Terminal Co-Owned by Qatar

Read time: 6 mins

Anthony “Tony” Podesta began lobbying in late 2013 on behalf of a company co-owned by ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum aiming to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the global market. Tony is the brother of John Podesta, former top climate change adviser to President Barack Obama and current top campaign aide for Hillary Clinton's 2016 bid for president

In October 2012, Podesta Group began lobbying on behalf of the proposed ExxonMobil-Qatar Petroleum Golden Pass LNG facility in Sabine Pass, Texas, according to lobbying disclosure forms. The forms indicate that Tony Podesta himself, not just his staff, lobbied on behalf of the terminal beginning in quarter four of 2013.

Josh Penry and Kristin Strohm: First Couple of Colorado Fracking Front Groups

Read time: 6 mins

This is a guest post by Jesse Coleman, originally published at Huffington Post.

A Greenpeace investigation has uncovered close ties between a Colorado political couple and at least six oil and gas industry front groups that have been fighting state regulations designed to protect the health of its citizens and the environment.

The husband and wife team are ex-state senator and onetime Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Josh Penry and his wife, founder of Republican PR and fundraising firm Starboard Group, Kristin Strohm.

Colorado has emerged as a key battleground in the national debate over shale drilling and fracking. The state's oil and gas industry has over 50,000 hydraulically fractured wells, and plans to drill many thousands more every year into the foreseeable future. These wells have caused severe water and air pollution problems, and have sparked a grassroots movement against drilling and fracking across the state.

Concern over pollution from fracking culminated in a series of local laws to ban or regulate fracking, efforts that sent shockwaves through the shale industry. To combat the growing threat of local control over drilling practices, the shale industry began funding political strategies to undermine local action against drilling.

Enter Penry and Strohm, who who helped develop the shale industry's sophisticated astroturf campaign strategy that was created in concert with legal strategies to override popularly-supported local drilling restrictions.

Earth Day Greenwash: API Front Group Iowa Energy Forum Sponsors Pro-Keystone XL Event

Read time: 4 mins

The political carnival that is the prelude to the Iowa caucuses has started over a year and a half early. At the center of it this time around: a game of political hot potato over the northern leg of TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

American Petroleum Institute (API) deployed one of its paid consultants — former Obama Administration National Security Advisor General James “Jim” Jones — to deliver an Earth Day address in the home state of the presidential caucuses at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

James Jones used his time on the podium to promote the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, which another James — retired NASA climatologist James Hansen — once called a “fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the planet.”

“General James Jones…will discuss the benefits of the pipeline initiative, including more jobs, less dependence on foreign oil, and cheaper energy costs for Americans,” explained an April 15 Drake University press release promoting the event.


Gen. James Jones; Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Days after the Obama Administration decided to delay making a decision on Keystone XL North until after the 2014 mid-term elections, API went on the offensive, with Jones acting as the group's surrogate.

API is using one of its numerous front groups that could factor most prominently during election season: the Iowa Energy Forum, chief sponsor and organizer of the event titled, “The Pipeline to National Security Discussion.”

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